Cause marketing is a partnership between a nonprofit and a for-profit for mutual profit. Partnership implies equal work and equal reward for both the nonprofit and the company. Cause marketing programs should be win-win situations for everyone. This isn't about companies giving you money. This is about companies working with you so they can derive some type of benefit out of it as well.
Cause marketing raises money and raises awareness because you are gaining access to your partner's most valuable asset - their customers.
Best Cause Marketing Tactics
1. Coin Canisters. In the right retail setting you can raise thousands and thousands of dollars. The right store is key to the success of these programs. The ideal place is a busy store where customers normally pay cash, but cannot tip employees. Places like coffee shops, convenient stores, department stores, and bakeries are great. The canisters need to be front and center and have ample security so they can't be stolen. This is a great first step in a cause marketing program as you can then build on this relationship for further outreach.
2. Pinups (paper icons). This is one of the cheapest strategies, but one of the most lucrative ways to raise money. They are cheap to print and easy to execute. Even though they are old school, they can be adapted to work with newer technology like mobile phones, QR codes, or location based technology. You want retailers who have lots of locations and foot traffic - grocery stores, department stores, and restaurants. The ask from the cashiers is critical though. If they won't ask for the donation, you won't get anything.
3. Purchase triggered donations. This tactic has the company donate part or all of the proceeds of a sale to your cause. There is no cost to the consumer, and is a less intrusive way to get people to give. It's very customer friendly. They are buying products but also feeling good about it. However, these are usually geared towards causes that are already well known in the community.
4. Shopping Days. This tactic allows you to tap into a local shopping or business district. Ask these businesses to support your cause either through coin canisters, pinups or purchase triggered donations, but do it all on the same day or weekend. This masses your forces and turns your program into an event.
5. Facebook Likes. This is a digital option for those with great online presence. For every like, comment, or new twitter followers, etc, you receive a donation from the company. This can create new opportunities for you partner and being online builds your credibility.
Finding partners for your cause marketing program.
Start with those companies you already have a relationship with. Then go to your contacts - they know about you, but don't support you yet - like vendors. Then you have outside prospects.
Your program should be free. The real money in cause marketing is not in the company - it's in their consumers (with the exception of the Facebook "Likes" programs).
Don't give them an excuse to say no - you will need to offer to do a lot of work. Invite the company to see firsthand what you are doing in the community - take it beyond the money they are raising for you. Finally, be flexible and helpful.
Growing Your Program.
Educate your partner about the program and all the different things they will gain from it. Establish what's important to them -morale, sales. Once you have partners, work their circles and reach out to other companies.
Partnering with businesses is about philanthrotunity. Cause marketing is just a set of tools to accomplish your goals. Any sized nonprofit can take advantage of the real opportunities that are presented when you find the right business to partner with.
To hear this entire webinar, including great examples of real world cause marketing programs, please listen to the recording of this webinar.
If you have questions or comments about this topic, please join the conversation on cause marketing on The Network for Good.
Adapted by Kristina Leroux